MRCPsych Paper B – guidance, preparation and resources for overseas psychiatrists
December 03, 2021
IMGs often have questions about the best ways to prepare for the MRCPsych Paper B exam, particularly with a new exam format and so many online materials geared towards UK trainees and applicants.
So, what study materials, courses and support are available for international psychiatrists? Here we have compiled some of the best guidance and resources to help in your preparation for the Paper B exam. We will also address some of the changes in the availability of test centres and exam delivery as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you know what you’re looking for, skip ahead to the relevant section.
If you’d like an overview of the entire examination series, take a look at the article published in our IMG Resources library here.
MRCPsych Paper B
Let’s begin with a quick recap of the second exam in the MRCPsych examination suite.
MRCPsych Paper B is a three-hour written exam which asses critical review and the clinical topics in psychiatry.
The 150-mark paper is comprised of It is made up of around two-thirds multiple-choice questions (MCQ) and one-third extended matching item questions (EMI). One third of the paper covers critical review, with the other two thirds covering clinical topics.
The breakdown of the sections is as follows:
For full guidance on the structure of the exam, visit the examination page of the Royal College website or see our detailed blog on the MRCPsych Paper B exam here.
It can be tough to know the best place to start, and after talking with some psychiatry consultants (both IMGs and UK trainees), the general consensus was that the Royal College website is the best place to begin. There are some great resources on their website to help applicants to prepare for the exam. See below:
Syllabus: We always suggest that this is the best place to start – plan your study around the curriculum topics and make a road map to your success in the exams. You can find this here.
Current critical review syllabus: For Paper B, candidates will need to ensure that they make optimal use of the MRCPsych Paper B critical review - evidence-based practice syllabic content, available here.
Sample Papers: These will help you polish your exam techniques and are a good way to regularly benchmark your knowledge against the syllabus. Additionally, they will help you work quickly on the day as you will already know what to expect. The samples can be found here.
Marking schemes: Candidates pass or fail the written papers based on their performance. As such, it is a good idea to understand how the exam is marked so you can maximise your exam skills, giving you the best chance of a pass. These can be accessed here.
Sample exam: These can help you understand the exact format of the exam and to familiarise yourself with the online exam environment. This is available here.
Online exam guidance: Detailed guidance written specifically to guide candidates in preparing for an sitting an online exam, including technology checks and timings. The guidance can be accessed here.
IMG Connect has a library of written resources geared towards preparation for the Paper B exam. If you’re interested in any of these, please get in touch hereand we would be delighted to share these with you.
Other online resources available for the exam include a mixture of paid and free resources. These include:
SPMM Starter Study Materials: A range of comprehensive study materials and subject-based question banks with evidence-based answers and explanations (SPMM HiYield and SmartRevise). These are available for 6 months from the date of purchase for the price of £299 and can be found here.
SPMM Video Lectures: A course covering the most important questions pertaining to clinical and critical appraisal topics. This is delivered through 19 hours of viewing - 10.5 hours of clinical topics and 8.5 hours of critical appraisal. Also provided is a PDF of Q-Bank to print and practice. These are available for 3 months from the date of purchase for the price of £199 and can be found here.
Brainscape Flashcards: Sets of web and mobile flashcards with hundreds of questions across all of the syllabus covered in the MRCPsych Paper B exam. This free resource can be used as either revision or practice material and is available here.
Superego Café Question Bank: This question bank provides over 500 multiple choice questions to help you prepare for your examination. The question bank includes constantly updated revision questions and is available as a mixed variety to reflect the MRCPsych Paper B examination. This can be accessed here.
BMJ Revision Questions: The BMJ has created an app-based revision resource with over 270 core questions, including the SBA and EMQ formats that will be seen in the exam. They are available at several price points dependent on the duration of access, from £29.99 for one month to £129.99 for 12 months. These are available here.
Get Through MRCPsych Paper B: Written by authors with recent exam success, the book provides candidates with realistic and up to date MCQ and EMIs, closely matched to themes appearing most often in the Paper B exam. This can be found here.
TrickCyclists Exam Notes: A series of psychiatry notes specifically tailored to the MRCPsych Paper B exam, including the nine topics covered by the exam and more. They are available in word and PDF format and are free to be used, distributed and modified. They are available here.
The SPMM and MRCPsychMentor resources are the most highly recommended by IMG psychiatrists we have spoken to and are available in different formats depending on your revision needs.
A three-hour long exam which simulates exam conditions with a mock exam paper comprising new questions not available in the question bank. It includes a revision mode, timed tests, extensive performance analysis and powerful question review functions.
These practice tests are simulations of the real exam prepared to the exam blueprint, allowing you to identify your weakest areas before the actual exam. This package includes access to 6 individual practice papers, comprising reconstructed questions from the most recent exams. Subscriptions can be purchased only 10 weeks before the College exam date.
As a result of the pandemic, all MRCPsych exams have moved online. Applicants from Singapore and Hong Kong who intended to sit exams in local centres are also invited to apply for the online sitting of the exam. You can learn more about the online exams for MRCPsych in the blog we've written here.
The application process for the exam takes 15 – 20 minutes where candidates will need a valid debit/ credit card, as well as the email address and full details of your sponsor. Further details on the application process can be found here.
Start your revision early – starting in advance allows you to pace yourself and get ahead of the stresses of last-minute revision and anxiety.
Build on your existing knowledge and experience – you’re being tested on things which you’ll likely be familiar; take your experiences and use that to bolster any new information you learn through your revision.
Think about your personal learning style and use this to plan effective revision - consider the ways you study best and use them to your advantage; take what’s available online and maximise their impact on your preparation.
Maintain a work-life balance – whilst you should dedicate time to study for the exam, it’s important to avoid burnout by setting aside time away from work and revision to reset and clear your mind.
For regular news and updates on the Royal College and all things histopathology, follow IMG Connect on social media using the links below:
Passed? What next?
Great stuff, this is a massive achievement and you deserve to put your feet up for a while! After a well-earned break, you can apply to sit the CASC exam, which you are eligible for once you’ve passed the MRCPsych Paper A and Paper B exams. For more information, take a look at our blog we will explore MRCPsych CASCand everything that you need to know about how to sit the exam, including syllabus, dates, results, fees and preparation.
For more useful blogs & articles on exams, registrations & qualifications to help you find your dream job in the NHS - take a look at our IMG Resources library.